August 6th, 2012

  • lisbei

use of defibrillator (and availability of same)

My main question is this: what kind of defibrillator would be available to EMTs/paramedics in California (or the US as a whole? Is that too general?)?

The background is this: the character in the story I'm writing ends up going into ventricular fibrillation and stops breathing. The other character has supernaturally enhanced hearing and can tell, so he's doing CPR and waiting for the ambulance crew to arrive, who will use a defibrillator on him.

But what kind of defibrillator? I've looked for videos of real defibrillators in use, and found one of an actual rescue on Bondi Beach, Australia, and it was one which actually gave instructions to the paramedics. You kept hearing it say "Calculating rhythm, keep clear." And then when it was ready it said to continue with the CPR while it charged because the first shock hadn't worked, etc. They managed to revive the young man, but had to shock him three times - also he was awake and conscious of where and who he was - I'm kind of wondering how common that is, because I was planning for my character to wake up at the hospital.

So would this be what US paramedics use? Would they have a portable heart monitor and a separate defibrillator? Or would it be one machine, with the electrodes detecting the rhythm as well as delivering the shock?

I have searched for: defibrillation, tachycardia, California EMS, EMT supplies, U.S. ambulance supplies.

Edit: Thank you so much, everyone! I got exactly what I needed and now my fic which strains the willing suspension of disbelief in almost every way, will at least get the defib right!
Hey, it's important, ok? I hate it when on a tv show they either defibrillate on a flatline (though that's rarer nowadays, I know I saw it recently and just had to roll my eyes) or someone keels over and everyone else does a "She's dead, Jim," and walks away in slow motion.
So thanks everyone!

Questions About Gunshot Wounds & Bullet Types

Hello, I know there are lots of questions about gunshot wounds and bullet types here, and I tried everything on Google, Wikipedia and even Yahoo! Answers but I couldn't find what I exactly need, any help will be appreciated.

I searched for "Gunshot wound to the chest" , "Gunshot wounds to the side" , "Gunshot wound to the abdomen" ,  "abdomen injuries" , "Ribcage injuries" , "Pain Management" , "Chest Trauma".

I'm writing a fictional story, sets in the middle 90s, my main character (J) is a 27 years old active/healthy male who "along with his older brother" leads a group of young-men to defend their town against a military invasion, J is the sniper in the group, anyways J decides to go in a solo mission "despite his brother refusal" but the mission goes south because he stuck into a fire fight with some soldiers and gets shot, he manages to escape, but because he can't reveal that to his brother he should keep his injury hidden for at least 8-10 hours before the blood loss and infection take their tolls and he collapses in his brother arms. My questions are:

1- From shoulders to lower abdomen, where should he gets shot "through-through" that causes heavy bleeding, massive pain but without any big internal damage? (No shooting in the limbs since I want him to be able to move and carry his rifle).
2- With this type of wound, can he walk straight (without bending or limping)? Can he carry a rifle? Can he run?
3- Let's say he managed to get into his safe house to clean & bandage his wound (using alcohol & some length of gauze, only) when the infection will set, when the visible signs of the infection will appear on him (by this I mean pallor, clammy skin, shallow breath and confusion)?
4- Will the ordinary oral painkillers be enough to keep him on his feet for that period of time?
5- Because they are on the run, his brother can't take him to a hospital, so he takes him to an old nurse whom she has a very limited medical resources, so, will he need an anesthesia (he is unconscious when he arrives there)? Will he needs a major surgery or only the steps that I read on Google?
6- How much time he needs to recover from such an injury?

And for bullet type:
8- What type of bullets would cause this type of injury (I know nothing about bullets or weapons, but I thought that he'd be shot by a low rank soldier's rifle from medium distance)?

I'll answer any questions if you have. This is very important section of my story, so I appreciate any help you can offer.

Thank you very much... Greetings.

Just threw a character across what?

Story: Fantasy/Supernatural
Setting: Modern day California

I’m trying to write a hospital scene following a female character’s injury. The injury was a caused by magical means so the power behind it was strong. The problem is, I know very little about this topic.

Here’s What Happened: (written from the POV of one infecting the injury) He didn’t even register the action of moving his arm across his body or that the women was thrown into the air with a scream, or that she followed the same path made by his hand, or that when she finally hit the ground, after her head collided with the sharp edge of a table, that she lay there motionless.  

Later when asked how the female character is doing the answer that is given is as follows: “They said she’s stable; which mean’s she’s still unconscious; and that she lost a lot of blood and broke a few bones, and they’re concerned about the possibility of internal bleeding.”

Edit: Character is 5' 7" and 130 lbs. As to how much force there was in the throwing of her; I thought about it as wind (i don't know if that helps) so on the Beaufort wind force scale she was thrown with gale force winds so, 39–46 mph over a space of about twenty-eight-feet. (provided all things considered it wouldn't kill her upon hitting the ground)

Question 1: how much damage will be thrown across the room like that cause? (I could also make it worse, like she hits a few more things before hitting the table, and the ground.)

What I’m going for I think is the maximum damage without it being fatal (but it can appear like it will be), and without long term side-effects. Really this is a side plot and is more meant to worry the readers and other characters then be harmful to the female character.  She can be in the hospital for a while, if need be, but after a few weeks tops, then she needs to be out of the hospital with nothing wrong, save for something maybe in a cast.

Question 2: is the explanation I gave for the character’s present condition in the hospital even accurate?
I imagine she would be in surgery; for what I don’t know; and then put under observation afterward because of the head injury, but I’m not sure what would happen in this type of situation once at the hospital.  

Question 3: Friend visiting her in the hospital?
Ok so I’ve only been in a hospital twice to visit a grandparent who was dying of cancer and that wasn’t the chaos of the ER I’d imagine would be happening during this scene, but I’m not sure. Anyway, once the character was out of surgery would her friend be able to see her even if she’s not awake? Would there be nurses and doctors running in all the time or would they be left alone with only a few interruptions?

Question 4: Her appearance post surgery?
I’d imagined a bruise on her forehead where she hit the table around the stitches; if there are any? I was wondering if she’d be hooked up to anything. Like have an IV, or have the oxygen thing in her nose, or maybe a blood transfusion?  I really don’t know at all, but what her friend sees when he enters the hospital room is very important.

Question 5: What would happen when she woke up?
She wakes up when the friend is still there. What would she be like? What would happen, would doctors rush in, or would he have to call a nurse? What would the doctors check when they got into the room and would the friend be allowed to stay?

Searched: I searched Google for head trauma, broken bones, head injury and blood loss.   


Russian Equivalent of 'Mister'


I'm in the process of writing a chapter for my novel, and one of the characters happens to be Russian, but I'm not quite sure how he should be addressed. Did the Russians still refer to men as 'comrade' or do they use something different? I've typed in the Russian equivalent of 'mister', and I found 'Gospodin' via Wikipedia. As for Comrade, I'm not sure if I'm even using that word correctly - it sounds very political, and my (very minor) character is an inventor.

Can anyone be so kind as to help me out?

Thank you!